Hobbies come and go and I am currently in transition. Sometime back around the 1st of October I ran across a startling opportunity to fulfill one of those once in a lifetime events that I’ve had in the back of my mind for some time now. You see, even though I live in close proximity to a 14,000 ft mountain, I’ve never lost my desire to make an extended road trip up through Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks continuing on to Banff in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
I guess this comes from a certain fascination with Vintage Rallies. We Americans don’t have much appreciation for this sport but the Brits do a marvelous job of planning these events.
Many years ago I got on the mailing list of a couple of British rally coordinators and from time to time I still get a brochure in the mail that sets the imagination running wild. Peking to Paris…..or how about…
The Flying Scotsman – London to Edinburgh in a vintage 1938 Jaguar SS 100! Such are the things dreams are made of. Unfortunately, this sort of hobby is limited to the rich and famous. The entry fee for this particular event was in the vicinity of $20,000 as I recall. And that doesn’t include the car or the cost of getting it and the drivers across the pond. Nevertheless, I still enjoy dreaming about what it would be like to go on some of these amazing events… London to Cape Town…
Hence the inspiration for planning a road trip up north. We certainly have plenty of awe inspiring locations here in North America that Rhonda and I have not visited yet. One of the criteria in my planning is that the car needs to be a convertible. I’ve discovered from driving up North Cheyenne Canyon and through the mountains in general that all the good scenery is up above the windshield/roof line. A convertible will allow for the complete visual experience. The proper touring machine would naturally be a Jaguar…
I do miss my old Jag and from time to time I would search craigslist for “Jaguar” just to see what came up but never with any serious thought of actually buying another one. As I mentioned in an earlier post, hobbies tend to be expensive and I was already pretty heavily invested in photography gear. Yet, I was intrigued by this one rather sparse ad which looked suspiciously like one of those “scam” ads, hardly any details, no phone number, etc. Why I responded I didn’t really know and days went by with no reply but eventually I got a rather cryptic response. It was like pulling teeth to get information but eventually I determined it was legit and scheduled a time that Rhonda and I could go look at it.
It was a 1990 XJS Convertible in remarkably good shape. We took it for a short test drive and discovered that there were a number of niggly problems that needed to be worked out but overall it seemed to be a sound car. The asking price was $4,000 and it could be worth that much or more if all the problems were resolved. I could easily see where, with a little work, this could be the answer to my dream trip. The snag was not exactly having any serious spare change, we also had a wedding to pay for, and a slight title problem. The scenario was a little unusual as the seller did not have clear title to the vehicle.
Although it seemed like a good opportunity I was prepared to drop the whole idea but Rhonda felt that we should not dismiss it but pray about it and see what God had to say. We did and to our surprise we both felt that we should proceed although we had different figures for the offer. I decided to take it for a more serious test drive and when it was over I felt compelled to go with the lower figure Rhonda had received. I offered him $2,500 if he could get a clear title to the vehicle and he accepted!
That was 10 weeks ago and I have been waiting patiently (mostly) for him to work the legal process needed to get the title in his name. In the interim I have been liquidating my photography gear. I was surprised when it came right down to it just how much stuff I had accumulated. I posted ads in the bulletin at work and sold several things right away, some stuff I listed on eBay and sold, some on Amazon.com that sold, and other stuff I listed locally on craigslist and sold. The only thing I have left is one 72mm filter. Once I got into the spirit of things I started finding all kinds of things laying around that I decided I didn’t really need anymore. Craigslist is just awesome for disposing of odds and ends. In the end my bank account had accumulated $2,700 which will pay for the Jag and the licensing and registration fees.
We picked it up this morning. Lousy weather here so it went straight into the garage. No pictures yet but it look almost exactly like this one: